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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Michael Feinstein @ Zankel Hall 3/22/2010

In Uncategorized on March 25, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Michael stays young and fresh, perhaps with surgical help? And puts on a hell of a show. Intelligently mining the American Songbook to keep all kinds of material in the mix. Sondheim, on his real birthday, Al Jolson, early 20’s to right now, jumping to the piano or with a terrific combo the songs and the stories he tells to accompany them is a delight. As a clincher he took Anthony Newly’s “What Kind Of Fool Am I?” and said it was time to start listening to it again; you’re right M. He had two young guests. Jennifer Sheehan sang beautifully and vamped for the crowd and we love her from this point on. William Blake, isn’t he a poet?, sang a castrato type set and he vamped too! After all it is Cabaret! It’s a lucky thing that there is Michael Feinstein.

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The Nose@ The Met 3/11/10

In Uncategorized on March 15, 2010 at 1:16 pm

How do you audition to be a nose? And if you don’t get the part do you picket? This Gogol story from the 19th century adresses these monumental issues in grand style. A production by William Kentridge, see him at MoMA too, and conducted by Valery Gergiev, see him at Carnegie Hall too, and sung Gorden Gietz as the nose, oh and Paulo Szot, fresh from South Pacific, Andrei Popov, I’m not sure where he has been lately, come together in Shostakovich’s fantasy early opera. The sets are a character too. They push the story along and we see the nose running away and posing as an official, with a higher rank than Kovalyov, which might be the point if there is one. And the Russian and English signs make a statement about the time of the story. The interference of goverment on the smallest details of our lives and like that. And every one running about trying to see the nose. Don’t worry though, the nose and face are reunited happily at the end. The Met Orchestra played in a truly Russian style, to my ear, and the chorus was in its usual grand form. Peter Gelb’s plan to bring new and interesting operas to the Met is working.

Charles Adamms@ MoCNY 3/3/2010

In Uncategorized on March 11, 2010 at 3:02 pm

To see a where the Adamms Family really came from, just in time for the Broadway opening was a treat. Who remembered that the Adamms cartoons have been so funny for so long? The show follows a time line of CA’s craziness in a big square that dumps you out in the lobby giggling. It’s a NY history that is right for this museum. I wonder if the rest of the world thinks we’re as funny as we do. Adamms makes the buildings and spaces charachters as well as the lunitics that inhabit them. This is a must see for any New Yorker reader and any one else that gets a kick out of NY

Les Troyans Pt1 @ Carnegie Hall 3/9/2010

In Uncategorized on March 11, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Berlioz in a small dose in the best hall with Gergiev and Mariinsky is a recipe for a terrific night of music. Add to that a wonderful chorus and a string of very strong singers, led by Ms. Gubanova, we’ll hear more from her you can bet, and Carnegie Hall rocked! Les Troyans is good for Gergiev to recall the strong French influence on Russia in the last two centuries and he stood up to the task with a strong proformance, right in the middle of the action, no podium for Valery in this role. It seemed that he pulled the orchestra to all the right places. The way that Berlioz uses the chorus was on display with a lovely and rich sound from both the men’s and womans and joint parts. Oh, and the soloists were wonderful, you could make a case that they need more French lessons, but to this listener it was just what the doctor ordered for a night of Berlioz.

Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton @ MSG 2/18/10

In Uncategorized on February 19, 2010 at 2:17 pm

OMG Gotterdommerung of rock! Jeff came out with his band and blew the roof off MSG playing all kinds of crazy JB stuff, including the Grammy winner “A Day In The Life” and “Nessun Dorma” ;Puccini, yikes. Oh , and the strings ,Oh the band rocked! He never let up, but the crowd was Clapton’s and when he came out he calmed the place down with a short acoustic set and then went through all the Clapton phases , the highlight was “I Shoot The Sherrif” oh and “Cocaine” oh never mind. And then Jeff came back and they played “Moon River” to a standing crowd and rocked for an hour. This leading up to the encore that said it all;”Crossroads”! Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to learn how to play this tune and I’m sure that Eric & Jeff made the same deal. If there was ever a doubt that these two guys are the best, this concert ended the discussion. Love Jeff Beck , Clapton is god!

SMSS @St I I 2/16/10

In Uncategorized on February 17, 2010 at 2:46 pm

When I switched my Carnegie Hall tickets to go to this concert,there was a moment of panic, after all, Carnegie Hall. That being said, it was another wonder exploration of litergical music in the best palce to hear that kind of music, in a church, duh! The two Bach cantatas book ended the Steffani “Sabat Mater” . First Bach BWV 12, one wonders what it must have been like to go to mass on a Sunday and hear this for the first time, in context. Certainly Bach was the first of many wonderful composers, not the earliest, the best. Cantata 12 is another gem with arias and choral mixing to great effect, and the St. Ignatius players are simply wonderful. Kent Tritle has been doing this series for 21 years and you can hear the experience shine through. There are some new stars singing the solo parts; Katie Geissinger, mezzo, Steven Fox, tenor, and Peter Stewart, baritone, that fills the whole church! “Sabat Mater” followed and was glorious, is that what it’s supposed to be? Again the chorus and soloists alternate parts and again they were wonderful. I get tired of being so enthusiastic about these players, but they are THAT good. Finally the Bach Cantata 4, that is an early one and sounds like it. It seems to be of a different time as though Bach was not fully formed as a composer, but still what one comes to expect from Bach and the St Ignatius ensemble and I got Michael Feinstein tickets in the exchange at Carnegie Hall!!!!

Vespers of1610@ St Ignatius

In Uncategorized on January 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Monteverdi’s Vespers are, it turns out, a smash up of old and very old styles. Trying to keep everyone happy in the Mantuan court and vieing for a Papal appointment, he composed his butt off and came up with this gem. Artex and The National Gallery of Art Vocal Ensemble and Piffaro AND Parthenia(viols), whew, preformed at St. Igantius to a full house that was very well-behaved through 2 hours,almost, of non stop liturgical magic. It is always wonderful to hear music in context(SMSS) and this bonus concert in the series was no exception. The voices were terrific and the early instruments sound excellent in this space. Perhaps because they are not so resonant, they seem to ring out more and get caught in the eaves of the church and sent back to make a glorious (no pun) sound. There were so many people involved that it would be difficult to single out anyone, except to say that the proformances was always at the highest level. The well priced tickets put this extrodinary music into the reach of many people and you have to be glad that so many artists are dedicated to keeping this music alive!

Vienna Phil@Carnegie Hall 1/15/10

In Uncategorized on January 16, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Is the Vienna the best orchestra when Barenboim conducts or when Boulez conducts or is it The Berlin with Sir Simon? Who cares when it sounds as good as it did last night. The Beethoven Symphony #6 was wonderful. Articulated, if that’s a legit critique, so that every note rang through the hall, as though it was never played there before and the hall wanted to soak it up. Followed by Wagner’s Prelude to Tristan and Isolde, a switch from the original program and a smart move so that one could hear the development into the 19th century. Finishing with Schoenberg, Variations For Orchestra so that the 20th century is more understandable and an Waltz encore dedicated by Barenboim to all the people that left before the Schoenberg. This is why we keep this series. The playing is unparalleled and the sound glorious and even though you think you’ve heard this before, The Vienna makes it new and exciting all over again

Leif Ove Andshes@ the NY Phil 12/30/09

In Uncategorized on December 31, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Last concert of the season for me was a winner. Alan Gilbert is committed to bringing “interesting ” works to the big stage at Avery Fischer Hall. He spoke of it before the second, and more difficult Webern Symphony. At only 10 minutes is is shorter that many symphony movements and IS not the easiest piece to listen to or play I agree with Alan that there is something about the piece that makes you want to know it and I’m glad that I heard it beautifully played by the NYP. It dosen’t seem to be recorded any where so this is the last time I’ll hear it. The program opens with a pre-twelve tone Webern; “Im Sommerwind” that had bits of the late romantic and early 20th century piled on, Schoenberg, Wagner etc. And it was a delight.The old ladies leaving the hall were heard saying” Oh I liked that first one better, didn’t you?” Yes we all did dear!
Leif Ove Andsnes played a magical Mozart piano concerto# 488 and kept us grounded in beautiful. The Schumann Symphony# 2 closed the program in grand NYP style. The Germans have to be the strong suit of the orchestra and so it is fitting to send us off into the new decade with Alan Gilbert at the helm confident that we will continue to love our home town band for that and be able to hear new things mixed in.

Last Look @ The Museum Shows

In Uncategorized on December 29, 2009 at 9:48 pm

OK the Guggenheim ‘s Kandinsky show is a block buster. It gets more beautiful every time you see it and the non representational art concept of Hela Rebay becomes more clear .
And so a trip to MoMA to see the Bauhaus, more Kandinsky and see how early to mid 20th century art unfolded. Lot’s of politics and utopian world views here, those damn Nazis closing it down, what could have happened. Next door the Oresco exhibit continues the “let’s make the guess” of the later half of the century.He is either very talented , and I don’t get it, or a well financed put together. Got to love the whale in the lobby.The Edward Sissorhands sculpture in he garden is a nice finish to the Tim Burton show that is wildly popular without any real merit as “art”
The Met continues to be the world class everything museum with the Samurai swords, I wonder what everyone is looking at; they are all the same. Robert Frank’s photo’s, on a Guggenheim grant coincidentally, are a striking reflection of mid century,20th, images that take in politics, finances and racial divides to remind us we haven’t come that far. Don’t forget how good the pics are! The American stories show really is an eye opener from the 18th & 19th & a little 20th century. It’s a nice response to the Frank in that the stories are a way of realizing that we are mostly of a pre enlightenment mentality no matter how sophisticated we think we are.
A revisit to The Whitney to see the abstractions of Georgia O’Keefe to see just how good this show is. The paintings and photos tell an early 20th century American story . The colors are bright and the sexual references are obvious, contrary to her denials, and it’ll be a shame when this shuts down. A pass on the Roni Horn, once is enough for that!
The gem that is called The Frick Collection is always quietly brilliant wit the Lugt collection of drawings from Watteau to Degas makes the soft statement that drawing is the basis for what we call art no matter how many video screens are turned on. As an afterthought maybe that’s what the Tim Burton show says too! This beautiful show is won’t get the noise of some of the block busters, but it adds to our city immeasurably